FranklinCovey Blog | Flig
Does this sound familiar…
“I work at a Fortune 500 company. Each year we have layoffs so more work is given to each of us; no pay increase. This additional work adds 5-10 hours per week. Last year I averaged 60-70 per week and am working more this year.”
“I have worked in Manufacturing for nearly 30 years. Our plant had 4000 employees when I started. Today we have 187 people left, 72 of them are on the executive team. We are expected to come to work an hour early, work through lunch and stay two hours late everyday.”
“I work as a Web Producer for a publishing company. Over the past 6mo. they’ve laid off 50% of our staff. . . . So, now we’re stuck with a limited staff, each one doing 2-3 times as much work, most of which we’re not qualified or experienced in.”
These actual postings from www.cnn.money illustrate one of the key hazards of these unpredictable times: Trying to do more with less. Of course, the concept is a virtuous one—everyone wants to get more return from fewer resources. That’s what productivity is all about.
But real people are paying a real price for unintelligent application of this principle.
The problem is too many companies lay people off and then expect the survivors to pick up the slack, doing two or three jobs at once. The obvious downside is spikes in stress, burnout, quality problems, and disengagement. You can’t expect overwhelmed people to do quality work or to get engaged in what they’re doing.
Everyone wants to do more with less. But the real question is “more of what”? More of the same? Or more of the kind of work that your customers really value?
In our recent book we focus hard on this question. The turmoil we live in is displacing workers in unprecedented ways, and companies are paying a heavy price for mindlessly shedding numbers without re-thinking the business model. Service levels drop, quality plummets, and revenues slide.
On an airliner, serving peanuts to everyone might be in the flight attendant’s job description. But in turbulent air, you really don’t care if the flight attendant does that job. It’s not as important as caring for the safety and well-being of the passengers. Maybe you can do without serving peanuts for a while.
Isn’t it time to stop asking people to do the impossible by trying to work two or three jobs at once? Isn’t it time to push the re-set button and ask what work really adds value and forget the rest?
We’d like to hear from you. Are you trying to do “more with less”? Are you like the people we’ve quoted above? Or are you doing more of what really matters and less of what doesn’t?